Top 10 Google Chrome Extensions

Recently I talked about the top 10 Google Chrome apps that are essential for any Chrome users. Now it’s time to look on the other side of the Chrome Web Store at the extensions. Extensions aren’t full applications and usually help with things when you’re browsing. Unlike apps, extensions work with the webpage that you are viewing to enhance your experience make the site more useful. I’ve listed out below the top ten that should be inside everyone’s Google Chrome browser.

LastPass: There are a lot of password managers out there, including LastPass and 1Password, which are on the top of everyone’s list. LastPass is the best free and very secure password manager. LastPass also has extensions for Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. This free password manager keeps a secure database of the passwords to sites that you choose to keep and can assist you when logging in at any point. What’s also wonderful about this extension is its ability to help you fill out forms; it can use saved form data and insert information like your name, address, phone number, and so on to fill out the form faster. For those security conscious people, LastPass can even generate your passwords for you and fill them in.

Top 10 Google Chrome Extensionsbitly | a simple URL shortener: For those who find themselves sharing links constantly through Facebook, Twitter, IM, or whatever other sharing service they might be using, those links can get long and ugly. A service that I’ve used for a long time is bit.ly, and it’s worked wonders when sharing links through Twitter’s pesky 140-character limit. It has some awesome stats that can be looked over to see just what type of people are looking at your link and where they are coming from. There are lots of URL shorteners out there, but the only one I’ve really trusted is bit.ly because of its great uptime and archiving of all my links.

Google +1 Button: Google’s new social network has a button of its own called the +1 button, and many sites have been slow to add this button to their ever-growing array of social buttons. To speed up this process, Google has created an extension that gives you the ability to +1 any page that you are on with a little button that sits up next to your URL bar. It’s pretty simple to use and operate — just like the regular button. When you click on the button, it gives you the option to post about the site publicly on your Google+ page or just keep your +1 there. It’s also pretty neat in that it gives you the current +1 data about the site to see how many people +1′d it.

Turn Off the Lights: When watching YouTube videos, you can sometimes get distracted with everything else happening on the page — like animated ads or the suggested videos for you to watch next. For some people, it can be kind of hard focusing on the video they came to see. Fortunately, there is an amazing extension called Turn Off the Lights that will darken everything else on the YouTube page besides the video itself. Many video streaming sites already have this (like Hulu and Netflix). Now it’s been brought to YouTube and other video sites just by a simple keystroke.

Xmarks Bookmark Sync: As an alternative to those who don’t want to use Google’s bookmark sync method with their Google account, there are Xmarks. Xmarks does more than sync your bookmarks, though; it can save your open tabs and resume them in any browser. For example, if I’m working and I stumble across some links that I’d like to view at home, I can save my open tabs and open them from my house with one click. Xmarks is the top bookmark extension that has a simple user interface and extensive controls to help you manage and easily organize your bookmarks. I’ve used Xmarks for the past year and loved it since I first installed it. It works across all browsers, so you’re not limited to installing it just to Google Chrome.

Google Voice (by Google): For those who do business or don’t have a cellphone yet and love to text, Google Voice has been a great alternative due to the free calls and texting within the United States. It’s a free secondary number that can be used for both texting and calling. Google Voice has its own extension in Google Chrome to allow you to access your recent calls and texts from the browser. You can easily text clients or open up a call right from the browser. The Google Voice extension is great for those who need to access their Google Voice number quickly and easily.

Speed Dial 2: I’ve been recently turned on to Speed Dial 2, a simple home page-like experience that gives you access to your most visited pages and bookmarks for easy browsing. It’s a fast and easy way to access your apps, bookmarks, and browsing history. Speed Dial 2 is more than just a way to quickly access your top sites, but is fully customizable with themes and logos to make it your own. It even offers stats to see what you’re visiting the most. Its advanced stats and clean design make it a must for every Google Chrome browser.

Evernote Web Clipper: If you use the Evernote app for Google Chrome, you should take a look at the Web clipper that allows you to tag and clip out parts of a website to save for later. A great example for this might be a recipe for a pie; you can use the clipper to easily save it and email it to your mother so when you come home from college she can have baked it for you upon arrival! That, or you could also just use it for notes when studying and clipping out important events that you should remember.

Google Mail Checker: This extension is pretty simple and doesn’t need too much of an explanation. This simple extension links in with your Google mail account and displays how many unread messages you have and gives you quick access to your inbox by clicking on the icon in the browser bar. If you need to be in constant contact with your email, Google’s own mail extension will do this quickly and notify you. It’s been reported that other similar extensions break because of Google’s changing code, so having the official one will help you out greatly.

Add to Amazon Wish List: All too often we find ourselves browsing the Internet and finding a product that we want — but don’t want enough to buy right at that moment, so we end up saving the link or just forgetting about it. Amazon is the top site when buying products online and it has a great feature called Wish List that allows you to add anything and everything to a list that others can use to buy you gifts or you can use as a reminder for purchasing these items at a later date. Amazon previously was limited to only using the Wish List on its own website; it has now created a plugin that you can use to easily add products from different websites not associated with Amazon to your list. It’s a simple button click and Amazon will pull in information like a picture, title, and price and add it to your list. I installed this extension not thinking that I’d use it all that much, but I was wrong and have used it on a daily basis to bookmark things that I want to get.

Before I proceed with my conclusion, I want to address why I haven’t included ad blockers. Websites, such as this one, rely on advertisements to generate revenue and bring you content you love for free. To offset the cost of running a website and paying employees, advertisements pick up the tab so that sites can expand and grow. Using an ad blocker is like stealing; it’s lost revenue to the site that is working hard to bring you free content. So if you have one installed, please uninstall it.

Obviously I cannot include all of the top and recommended apps in this article or it’d get way too long. So if you’d like to add one, leave us comments below with what you think is a great Google Chrome Extension that everyone should be using or may find helpful.

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  • TheGeekPanel

    Excellent list. What about goo.gl URL shortener? That offers the same features as bit.ly but with a QR Code generator to easily pull up the same webpage on your phone?

  • http://twitter.com/TheRealJAG Jorge A. Gonzalez
  • Mike Seth

    Why’s AdBlock not on the list? “Don’t condone ad blocking, ads are a source of revenue for Lockergnome” … possible answer.

    • Anonymous

      If you read the second to last paragraph I addressed why I didn’t include blockers.

      • http://zarlach.com/ Petter Kraabøl

        Ah, I didn’t really think about that before now.
        I just allowed ads to show up on Lockergnome.com and pirillo.com websites.

        For those who has AdBlock: Click the icon and choose “Don’t run on pages on this domain”
        Support Lockergnome! :)

  • http://www.maxminzer.com Max Minzer

    Chris, I totally agree with you about ad blockers. 

    I don’t think they should exist.
    If only people knew how internet works.

    I understand, as an example, that YouTube ads are annoying sometimes but there is so much helpful info you get from YouTube…

    • http://twitter.com/EnvoyOfTheEnd Ian Bunting

      I don’t have anything against what ads are meant to achieve, I just object to the means by which it is done.

      Any ads which get in the way of, and and intefere with the service they are meant to be supporting are the reason people use blockers.

      Flash ads which take longer to load than the rest of the page, ads which popup from simply hovering over text which otherwise you must move your mouse around, ads in videos which hover over the video content, ads which mimic and try to appear as genuine operating system messages etc.

      Responsible advertising will do a hell of a lot more than having to try to circumvent blockers or complaining about the blockers will do.

      Give us a reason to stop using them and we will.

      • http://twitter.com/Zarlach Petter

        True.
        I am against those fake ads like “Shoot 4 iPhones”, “How many balls”, etc.. which is one of the reasons I block them.

        I hope Google makes it easier to configure what ads you want from them and maybe get some variety instead of the same over and over.
        As Chris Pirillo has been talking about, maybe Google with “track” what you are +1′ing and use that to show good ads.

  • http://www.maxminzer.com Max Minzer

    Chris, I totally agree with you about ad blockers. 

    I don’t think they should exist.
    If only people knew how internet works.

    I understand, as an example, that YouTube ads are annoying sometimes but there is so much helpful info you get from YouTube…

  • http://twitter.com/tdr2009 Travis Rector

    About the ad blocker…

    They now have an option (at least on Firefox) that allows for non-intrusive advertising. 
    They just need that on Chrome now.

    From ad block plus site:
    “Starting with Adblock Plus 2.0 you can allow some of the advertising that is considered
    not annoying. By doing this you support websites that rely on advertising but
    choose to do it in a non-intrusive way. And you give these websites an advantage
    over their competition which encourages other websites to use non-intrusive advertising
    as well. In the long term the web will become a better place for everybody, not
    only Adblock Plus users. Without this feature we run the danger that increasing
    Adblock Plus usage will make small websites unsustainable.”
    Also said these are considered non intrusive:

    Static advertisements only (no animations, sounds or similar)
    Preferably text only, no attention-grabbing images
    At most one script that will delay page load (in particular, only a single DNS request)

    • http://twitter.com/tdr2009 Travis Rector

      Also, just so you know, I have Ad Block disabled for this site. 

      I also disable Ad Block for sites who have ads that aren’t annoying.
      Ones I find annoying are the ones that play Flash ads (with sounds) while I’m trying to watch a video.

      • http://twitter.com/EnvoyOfTheEnd Ian Bunting

         Which is a welcome addition and goes to support my view stated above.

        Responsible advertising is not something ad-blockers were ever meant to get in the way of, but there is no easy way of differentiating between that and those which fight for your attention and clicks.

    • http://twitter.com/tdr2009 Travis Rector

      Also, just so you know, I have Ad Block disabled for this site. 

      I also disable Ad Block for sites who have ads that aren’t annoying.
      Ones I find annoying are the ones that play Flash ads (with sounds) while I’m trying to watch a video.

  • Kyle Polansky

    I would disagree with the password and bookmark sync extensions. I personally like the way that Google keeps everything associated with my account, so a single sign on will work with everything. Also, you are missing a weather extension. Right now, I am using Forecast Fox, which is also available on Firefox. I also use other “Social Media Checkers” I prefer extensions that check services such as Google Voice, Google Plus, Gmail, and Facebook. These extensions provide a very quick way to check social networks without having to load each website, and look at your notifications.

  • Trevor Langowski

    AdBlock is the best one!!!!

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      No, it’s not.

      • Nicholas

        I like it Adblock enough to put it in any top 5 list. And no it is not stealing. Sites have the option to deny access to people using adblockers so it is more like fast forwarding commercials on shows you have recorded.

        Does it decrease revenue? Yes.
        Are ads annoying? Yes.
        Do unwilling sites have the option to deny access? Yes.
        Is it illegal? No.If it is not illegal it isn’t stealing. Plain and simple. Just because it hurts your bottom line doesn’t mean anyone using it is “breaking your imaginary internet laws”. Also you are completely ignoring the options available to you, like sites that are on the exception list, and using non flash ads/non moving ads that do not add load time or take away from focus.Overall a very underdeveloped article with extremely partial arguments.

      • Anonymous

        Which is the best?

    • Anonymous

      I’m going to refer you to my second to last paragraph, using ad block takes away from sites and is essentially stealing. 

      • Ben Mullan

        Lol, stealing… You so know people actually have to click the ad for the website to make money? I’m going to guess that over 75% of users don’t click your ads or even look at them.

        For people like me that rarely buy things online I use Adblocker. The reason is that I don’t want to buy any of the advertised products. Is it stealing if I don’t use an Adblocker but still don’t click you ad?

  • http://twitter.com/Montero_Erick Erick Montero

    This is the best youtube extension ever http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ0obzYBEcs

  • http://twitter.com/azmushko Alex Zmushka

    Nice list!

  • http://twitter.com/azmushko Alex Zmushka

    Nice list!

  • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

    It *is* stealing – I don’t care how you try to justify it.

    • Nicholas

      It’s not illegal and you have the option to deny service if it bothers you.

      I don’t care how YOU try to complain about it, the fact remains it is perfectly legal.

      • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

        You’re not someone I’d ever consider as a part of our community. With “supporters” like you, we couldn’t exist. Thanks, thief.

        • Nicholas

          For starters calling someone who hasn’t broken a law a “thief” is called slander, and that is a crime. So as the person in this conversation who hasn’t broken a law I’ll take the moral high ground and lay down some hot fiery truth for you.

          Truth one – You could easily notify the users connecting with an adblocker that your revenue depends on ads, and encourage them by whispering sweet nothings into their ears like “We use only static, non moving ads so you can focus on the articles. And the ads you do see are generated by google adsense and related to the topics, so if you like a topic our ads will show you stuff you will actually find interesting! And our ads are child safe.”

          Truth two – You don’t do any of the stuff mentioned in step one so in addition to being unable to consider me a thief you can’t even call me rude. I on the other hand can call you lazy.

          Truth three – Adblockers make the internet so much neater, it’s like wiping the graffiti off a bridge! And they decrease load times of the pages that use flash ads. And they keep children from seeing things like “guess which celebrity wore this thong and win a free ipad”.

          Truth four – The majority of people with adblockers would gladly add this site to an exception list if you took my advice in truth one. Honestly you have no right to complain if you don’t put forth the minimal effort it would take.

          Truth five – saying something is illegal when it isn’t just because it hurts your bottom line makes you no better than the SOPA people.

          • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

            Thievery is taking what isn’t yours to take for free without adhering to terms, not an absolute law.

      • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

        You’re not someone I’d ever consider as a part of our community. With “supporters” like you, we couldn’t exist. Thanks, thief.

    • Nicholas

      It’s not illegal and you have the option to deny service if it bothers you.

      I don’t care how YOU try to complain about it, the fact remains it is perfectly legal.

  • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

    It *is* stealing – I don’t care how you try to justify it.

  • Julian Finn

    I utterly disagree with the notion that running an ad-blocker is like stealing. By the same logic, simply visiting a web page and refusing to click on any of the ads is stealing. What a ridiculous position to take.

  • De.Doughboy

    i like iGoogle as a landing page in Chrome or FF. It loads my favorite sites first and I don’t even have to even open them to see whats up.

  • De.Doughboy

    i like iGoogle as a landing page in Chrome or FF. It loads my favorite sites first and I don’t even have to even open them to see whats up.

  • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

    Ignoring what’s there isn’t stealing.

    • Nicholas

      And neither is blocking free content you don’t want. It is not like you offer any kind of message to the people using adblockers asking them to disable them.

      You do nothing and expect everything in return for a free service you provide. The least you could do is entice people with static ads to keep focus on reading and keep your ads related to the topics/things geeks would love to buy. But I have heard nothing about the kinds of ads on your site and don’t plan on adding it to my exception list until you can at least extend a common courtesy like asking me nicely.

  • Ace Manum

    My essentials (in addition) are an add blocker, a pop up blocker, a flash blocker, a video downloader, a share button for facebook and one for twitter…:)

  • John Everett

    I find the CLEARLY extension to be indispensable, It doesn’t work for everything but generally makes internet articles a lot easier to read.